This short video may decide for you.
That was a great day of fishing in Lake Pontchartrain. I caught 30 specks by myself, all jigging, no live bait, artificial only. However, I did find myself using scent to get fish to commit to the lure.
Yes, I believe scents really work. I have used them regularly, not religiously, but enough that I am confident to know when I need them and when I do not.
If it isn’t clear, I was casting to fish holding on those bridge pilings. I got a finicky and non-committed bite, which led to my “half” hook set. There was no point in completing the hook set, as the fish did not fully commit. This was actually the second or third time that happened.
I grabbed an aerosol can of scent spray and hosed the lure down with it before casting back out. I didn’t cast in the same exact spot, but it was the same set of pilings.
Anyways, the result is pretty clear: I got a great bite and a great hook set. Trout could have been bigger, though. :)
Usually the fish are going to tell me when I need to start using a scent. This comes in the form of them short-striking a lure, or following it but not committing to it. Pay attention to your lure as you retrieve it back to the boat. Don’t be surprised if you see a trout or redfish run from behind the lure.
When sight fishing, I will see reds clearly following my lure, but they are unsure exactly what it is and do not bite. A scent tends to fix this problem. I have even seen reds swim across the trail of a scent and follow it to the lure!
Honestly, anything works. You only need to get the fish interested enough to bite on that cast.
I have used scents ranging from shrimp, crab to anise oil and garlic. The only one out of them that actually smells like itself is the garlic. All the other ones smell like something completely different and I think marketers will brand a product with anything if they think people will believe it. So keep that in mind.
If you’re still not sure, the spray I used in the above video is a crawfish spray. Trout love it.
With that said, I like Spike-It products, especially their tournament strength garlic spray. It works great on bass and reds! The best thing about it is that it does not come off. Be very careful when spraying it! Otherwise “normal” sprays are washed off after the first cast. The key is to smell the lure between casts. This way you can judge the effectiveness for yourself.
Devin is a Marine veteran of the Iraq War, entrepreneur and a hardcore inshore angler who enjoys chasing limits of specks and sight fishing redfish.